Climate is Changing and It’s Our Fault – Prove it say the Conservatives: Trouble is, it has Been Proven Thousands and Thousands of Times

By August 14, 2010 February 21st, 2013 Deniers and Delayers

August 14, 2010 Benoit Thibodeau and his team have a new study of foraminifera from the St. Lawrence Estuary in Canada. One of what is certainly hundreds, and possibly thousands of studies of this most common of ocean temperature proxies. This one just looked at a thousand years of history, but found that this location tracked exactly like the rest of them – right there along the same old track as the vast majority of the rest of the temperature proxies of the "hockey stick". So, what am I writing about here?

There is a clue in the way I titled this piece.  I had a long talk over a fabulous cigar a couple of weeks ago with an old friend.  My friend is a bank president, he is not rich, but he’s doing well.  He’s quite conservative, but he has a good head on his shoulders.  He always has good questions for my about climate change, and we always very meaningful discussions about politics, the environment and even religion. class="style92"> But I always come up against the same brick wall with climate change – my friend says (repeatedly) "If only someone could just prove that climate is changing  . . .  or prove that man is to blame . . ."  What I have to report about the latest from academia simply has no meaning to this bank president.  He considers everything I say quite thoroughly, asks follow up questions, then restates the talking point.  "If only the scientists could just prove it".  Then, he usually repeats another thing he says often when we talk (we don’t get to talk but couple times a year). this other thing he says is " I am no climate scientists, but it seems to me that , if climate change was real, it would be all over the media and everyone would be freaking out, etc. "

Now, I live in Austin which is a liberal pocket, a small liberal pocket, in the vastly conservative state of Texas.  I have family here, and old friends.  Most of new friends (the last 25 years), are progressive, but old friends are hard to come by, so I keep them regardless of politics. Family members too, they are all conservative, some greatly so, the close family anyway.  And they are ALL like this. I don’t like to bring my personal life into this issue, but Thibodeau’s paper, more precisely his abstract, reflected a tone that is showing up more often in climate science today.

Five years ago, scientist stuck to their job, stated the facts, talked about methods and made conclusions.  But today, many academic works are talking about the perceived controversy in climate science. They are attempting to make policy statements, trying to justify the reasons for such a bad understanding of climate science by non-scientists.  This controversy of course is between the un-scientists and themselves. Scholarly types even have a complete line of reasoning to help understand this kind of behavior.

It’s called the Kruger Dunning Effect.  Not only are many folks (and leaders, and politicians) out there unaware that they do not have the knowledge to make appropriate decisions, but this lack of knowledge gives them a false sense of knowledge – Pretty damn scary really.  If climate science is a good indicator of the number of people inflicted with symptoms of the Krugger Dunning Effect . . .what other world issues are suffering from the impacts of unknown unknowns?

Kruger and Dunning, Unskilled and Unaware of it How difficulties in recognizing ones own, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1999. And redone on 2009, Here.

Thibodeau, et. al., Twentieth century warming in deep waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence: A unique feature of the last millennium, Geophysical Research Letters, September 2010.